Japan's Mitsui falls after warning of first-ever loss

A man looks at a screen showing global stock market information on the street in Tokyo Image copyright Getty Images

Shares in Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co fell as much as 8% after it warned of its first annual loss since 1947.

Mitsui said China's economic slowdown and the slump in global commodity prices made the loss inevitable.

Its president, Tatsuo Yasunaga, said it would "exhaust all possible means to return to profitability".

Japan's Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Marubeni and Itochu trading houses have traditionally helped control the country's natural resource imports.

This is by making large investments in raw materials that help secure supplies at certain price levels.

Several of them have already had to take on impairment costs after oil and metal prices collapsed.

Mitsubishi may also post its first net loss of more than 100bn yen (£629m; $890m) in the year ending 31 March, according to Japan's Nikkei business daily.

Mitsui was the worst performer on Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225, which closed 0.6% lower at 16,892.33, while the broader Topix fell 0.7% to 1,354.61 points.

Australian banks

Image copyright AFP/Getty

Other Asian markets are also trading in negative territory.

The Shanghai Composite on China's mainland finished down 1.63% to 2,960.97 points, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed down 1.31% to 20,345.61 points.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.1% to close at 5,084.21 on Thursday, dragged down by shares of the country's biggest banks.

They have been among the world's most profitable lenders since the global financial crisis, but are now facing increased regulatory scrutiny and tougher capital requirements.

Shares of ANZ fell as much as 6% after it reported a A$100m increase in bad debts from loans made to struggling resource companies.

Westpac is down nearly 5%, while Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank have fallen by more than 3%, also over concerns about bad debts.

South Korea's Kospi closed down 0.46% to 1,985.97 points.